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Parent Bulletin 12/06/20

Please take some time to read the latest bulletin from Mr Solly...

Dear parents and carers,

I hope this newsletter finds you and your families safe and well.

We published details to parents this week regarding how we are implementing a phased return to school for Year 10. We also asked Year 10 students to provide us with some feedback so that we can shape our provision in order to give them the best experience possible. The response from staff, students and parents has been excellent and we are very much looking forward to welcoming back our first group of students on 22nd June. Can I politely remind Year 10 parents to complete the online survey by 9am Monday 15th June.

I have answered a couple of enquiries this week regarding the concept of ‘live lessons’. I mentioned this last week, but I think it is worth pointing out the main points again. We are using a variety of methods to deliver our online provision and we have decided against live lessons for a number of reasons:

  • The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has produced a useful research report for schools that specifies that synchronous teaching (live lessons) is no more beneficial than asynchronous teaching (recorded clips with explanations)
  • Not all students can access the lesson at the time it takes place for a variety of reasons
  • Students frequently have connection issues or are not able to log on and access the lesson when it takes place
  • Teachers are not always able to deliver a lesson at a particular time. Many are juggling their teaching commitments with caring for family members and overseeing their own young children who are learning online
  • Teachers also suffer from connection issues. (I spend most of my days in online meetings and almost every meeting incurs some form of issue. This week I led a UCC staff meeting and lost my connection due to a powercut.)
  • Online live lessons are a poor proxy for learning and so we are introducing other methods that will supplement what we are currently offering

Therefore, the approach we have taken is to set work online using SMHW and we have worked to get the balance right with how the work is set regarding the volume, frequency and deadlines. However, we are asking our staff to start using more interactive methods of delivery that might involve narrated resources or videos of themselves explaining a task. This will mean students can learn at their own pace, in their own time and pause/rewind as necessary. The feedback in our Year 10 survey has indicated to us that students really value this method of delivery and therefore we are pursuing this further to improve the experience of all students in their online learning. We completed staff training this week and I hope to see our staff using these methods more frequently soon, where they are appropriate for certain activities. 

Additionally, I am exploring how we can use Microsoft Teams to engage with students to support pastoral provision, assemblies and certain elements of teaching, and this may be implemented within the last few weeks of term. We do not know what the situation for schools will be in September and therefore we are using the experiences accrued whilst working remotely to help us shape our provision if we are required to continue online learning beyond this academic year.

Thank you for your continued support of the school and the fantastic work I know you are doing at home to support your children.

Take care and stay safe.
Mr Solly